Archives for : August2013

Lead Like Jesus

Jesus Leadership

The first, and best, place we should look to learn how to lead is Jesus.  He not only told the twelve disciples what to do, but more importantly, He showed them.  Taking a closer look at how He developed leaders there are several simple but profound observations:


First, Jesus spent a lot of time with those He would pour the last three and a half years of His life into here on earth.  He spent up close personal time observing these potential leaders.  They laughed together, ate together, travelled together, and did life together.  Some practical lessons gleaned from Jesus’ leadership examples are:


  • Be careful about those looking for titles or positions.
  • Look for those already busy.
  • Give small assignments at first.
  • Go slow and watch to see how they develop. 


Second, Jesus selected His leaders.  We do not seem to like this thinking, but Jesus handpicked His leaders, and not everyone is meant to be the kind of leader these men became.  A dangerous mentality is thinking that anyone in the church can serve in whatever position they choose.  The biblical example is that those who became leaders first proved themselves faithful.


  • Be careful about using sign-up sheets.
  • Develop Life Transformation Groups to develop leaders.
  • Build up leaders through personal relationships not just through teaching.
  • Select those who have proven themselves to the church.


Third, Jesus showed them how they were supposed to lead.  We cannot forget that leadership development is so much more than information transfer.  His leadership style had a high priority on obedience over knowledge.  He was looking for those who were not only hearers of the word but doers also.  Remember, you cannot lead what you do not live.


  • Treat leaders as apprentices rather than as students.
  • Invite potential leaders into your home and visit theirs.
  • Hold one another accountable for their spiritual walk.
  • Do not promote those who are not working at making disciples.


Fourth, Jesus sent the disciples into situations that they were not prepared for.  A huge mistake to avoid is making leadership too easy.  They must realize that there will be opposition and there will be hardships and struggles along the way.  Recently I heard someone say, “If you’re not in a fight, you’re not doing it right!”   While I am not promoting looking for a fight, I do want to say when you sell out to Christ the fight has a way of finding you.


  • Leaders must be placed into situations that will stretch their faith.
  • Hardships are not always a bad thing but can develop godly character.
  • Risk is a part of leadership and we are to walk by faith.
  • Leaders must learn to depend more on the Lord and less on themselves.


Fifth, Jesus started a movement by pouring His life into a few so that He could reach many.  You cannot turbo train leaders because serving the Lord is not a sprint but a marathon.  As leaders develop, accountability will increase but control will decrease, which will energize the new leader.  If both accountability and control increase then everyone involved will become frustrated.


  • Leaders produce leaders not curriculum.
  • The first step is building relationships.
  • Look for those who are already serving and have a teachable spirit.
  • Every leader is different and the goal is not clones or robots.


Jesus showed us how to develop leaders.  I want to remind you of what Jim Putman said in Discipleshift, “We cannot divorce Jesus’ teachings from His methods and get His results.”  There is a great need for us to be completely honest with the potential leaders we are trying to develop.  Jesus had very honest conversations with the 12 disciples and we must be careful about misplaced kindness.

Healthy churches strive to develop leaders the same way Jesus did!